Thursday, June 16, 2016

Bonnaroo: A Weekend of Discovery

When asked what Bonnaroo is all about, Grace Potter will tell you that it's "discovering." And a quick internet search will tell you that to discover is to find (something or someone) unexpectedly or in the course of a search. While I may not have been in search, I found many somethings and someones this weekend at Bonnaroo. Grace, you are right... Bonnaroo is in fact an entire weekend of discovering, and that word took on a whole new meaning for me.

At my first Bonnaroo, I met new friends, tried new things, fell in love, let loose, got hardly any sleep, danced in the middle of a field at a tiny art car, saw a completely naked man walking alone, used a porta-potty more times than ever before in my life, sweat a lot, found myself a Bonnaboo, ate 3am pizza, learned how to properly recycle and compost, bonded with coworkers, waited out a lightning storm in a trailer, ate amish donuts, let my hair down, got a tan, chilled out hard to Kalliope (EDM say whaaaat), lost track of time, lost my credit card, lost my mind, met Maren Morris, forgot to take pictures, talked to the lead singer of a band and had no idea, got lost, found myself, got really dirty, lost my voice, laughed, cried, sang, danced, drank more Summer Shandy's than I should admit, walked over 40 miles (in flip flops), and felt a lot of feelings (which right now is the Bonnablues).

Musical Paradise

It's pretty amazing that with just a short walk you can hop around from stage to stage and hear some of the best music that exists today. Bonnaroo not only allows you to jam out with your favorites, it also gives you the chance to see artists and bands live that you may not have paid to see before. And when you love them, it's freaking amazing. That's exactly what happened with X Ambassadors. I'd only known one song, Renegades, but wanted to check them out and I'm SO glad I did. I was blown away by their energy and I'm so in love with their music (I haven't been able to stop playing Gorgeous since I left).

Chris Stapleton was even more unbelievable than I could have imagined, so that I almost cried during Fire Away because it was just so. damn. good. Maren Morris is tiny but boy is she mighty. This girl has a unique and powerful voice and I'll admit it's hard not to get a little caught up in your feelings while listening to her sing her heart out (while also being drenched in sweat). 

Then there was Sam Hunt aka my headliner. I danced, I jumped up and down, I lost my breath, I sweat my butt off, and I'm pretty sure I've never been more captivated than I was in that moment. I've seen Sam Hunt a few times but this was the absolute happiest I've ever seen him and his band. They all seemed so psyched to be there, their smiles could light up an entire town. The vibes were so contagious I have chills right now thinking about it. But by far, one of the best feelings in the world is introducing your friends to your favorite artist or music and having them not just like it, but love it. "I get it. I get why you love him so much" they said. FINALLY.  That's the good stuff.

I can think of no better way to conclude my musical experience at Bonnaroo than to get back in touch with my childhood. I was reminded of exactly why I used to love them so much and I wasn't alone - the entire place was filled with energy and excitement. Third Eye Blind, you killed it. Jumper, Never Let You Go, Semi-Charmed Life. Yes please.

X Ambassadors, Chris Stapleton, Maren Morris, Sam Hunt, Third Eye Blind, Aubrie Sellers, Chvrches, Halsey, St. Lucia, Ellie Goulding, Miguel, J.Cole, and Haim - ahhh. All of the music. And even though I missed some really great ones (cough, Anderson East, Jason Isbell, Nathaniel Rateliff), at least it will give me an excuse to go back! If you also love my rad lineup, check out my Bonnaroo playlist but beware: there is A LOT of Sam Hunt.

Feeling Feelings

"Radiate Positivity" is one of the main messages at Bonnaroo. Step one foot on The Farm and you will feel just that. You can see it on the faces of every single person you walk by, every vendor, every artist, every fan. Everyone truly does radiate positivity and the kindness factor is off the charts. Bonnaroo is the happiest place in the world.

Something about being in Tennessee and at Bonnaroo also made me feel very zen. From the food, to the people, to the feelings. And even though I've been back in New York for a few days now, I'm not ready to lose that just yet. It was life changing. 

My four days on The Farm led to a discovery of new music, new love for old music, new friends, new joys, new appreciations, but most importantly, a discovery of myself. I discovered what it feels like to truly be free and happy. And I finally understand what all the hype is about. Bonnaroo, I love you and I will never forget this (even if most of my clothes and shoes are Bonna-ruined).

Videos & photos on Insta: @itsmesummerr & @nycountrified.

We are young, we are free
Like renegades, like James Dean
Beat the drum, sing off-key
You set me free, you set me free